Monday, November 16, 2020

Paper Clips and Ice Cream

Sometimes I run across things that are better written than what I can do and deserve some attention, so I beg your indulgence.  Too often, I am like a toddler who drops a paper clip, and as embarrassing as that is, it bears mentioning.  

This was written by Mary Katherine Backstrom:

Hey, God.

Sorry, it’s been a minute. But something happened today, and for the first time in a long time, I felt like I understood Your heart a little better.
You probably already know why I’m talking, because well…You are God. But I guess the whole point of prayer is to talk, so I’m gonna tell You what happened.
Today, I was at a traffic light staring at Hannah, who was screaming in her car seat because a friend gave her a paper clip during preschool and she snuck it home in her clothes, and then accidentally dropped it into the abyss that is my car’s floorboard.
Then, despite her desperate pleas, I wouldn’t pull over so she could unbuckle and climb around the car looking for said paper clip.
That made her BIG mad.
We are talking wailing and crying and gnashing of teeth mad.
Moving on.
Now, if she had known that I couldn’t pull over because I was hurrying to take her somewhere special before soccer practice, maybe she wouldn’t have minded.
But she was screaming too loudly about her paper clip for me to explain.
“You are an EVIL mommy! A wicked stepmother! I wish I had a better mommy!”
Un-freaking-believable, right? I gave birth to that little turdlet and she had the audacity to disown me over a paper clip.
So, I let her mourn and scream. There was no reasoning with her, anyways. She wanted what she wanted.
To Hannah, that paper clip was the most valuable thing she’d ever owned.
But I couldn’t stop thinking: If only she knew what was coming. If only she knew why I wouldn’t pull over. If only she knew that I wanted to take her out for ice cream—just the two of us—maybe she would have gotten excited.
Maybe she would have forgotten about that stupid paper clip.
I had something in store for her that was so much better than a milligram of bent wire.
But that bent wire was her heart’s desire. She could see nothing else.
I was contemplating this to myself and I realized, holy cow, God.
I’m no better than my toddler.
I am essentially riding around in life’s car seat, clutching tight to my precious paper clips, and raging at you when one falls out of my hands.
My writing job changes, but I liked my job.
A speaking gig falls between my fingers, but it’s the one I was most excited about.
My husband changes as a human, but I was comfortable with who he was.
“My paper clips, God! Pull over and let me collect them! PULL OVER GOD WAAAAAAAH!”
All the while you are watching my tears from the front seat, waiting for the wailing to stop so you can tell me,
"MY DAUGHTER. Let go of that trinket. Stop your crying. I have something better just up ahead."

So, God. I just want you to know that, in this one small way, my Mama heart understood a little more about your Daddy heart today.
To be honest, I don’t want to lose any of the things I hold onto so tightly. My youth, my writing career, my children being little, my marriage being comfortable. But, if change must happen, I pray you comfort my heart and remind me that Your plans are for my good.
And remind me that for goodness sake, if I can just stop wailing over lost paper clips for one stinking minute, You’ve been trying to take me out for ice cream.
I think this was a prayer. Perhaps a revelation. Maybe more of a brain dump.
Either way, I feel a little closer to you tonight, God.
And I think that deserves an “amen”.